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Author: Li, Wenqing
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1. Li, Wenqing
Mobility, Human Capital Accumulation, And Wage Growth
Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Chicago, 1997
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Human Capital; Labor Economics; Mobility, Occupational; Wage Growth; Wage Levels

This thesis studies the relationship between job mobility and wage growth. Previous research on job mobility has focused on the wage level effects of job mobility. This study makes contributions to the literature by examining how job mobility affects wage growth. Job mobility can be classified into two types, occupational mobility and simple job mobility. In occupational mobility, when workers change jobs, they also switch occupations. In simple job mobility, when workers change jobs, they stay in the same occupation. The theoretical work focus on occupational mobility. In the empirical work, the wage growth effects of occupational mobility and simple job mobility are both analyzed. The thesis develops a model in which a worker's productivity in accumulating occupation specific human capital is determined by the match quality between the worker and her occupation. The change of occupations is a device for a worker to improve the quality of occupational matching. As the quality of the match improves, the model predicts more investment in human capital and hence there is greater wage growth in subsequent occupations. This effect comes from two channels: directly from the fact that workers sort into occupations where they can accumulate human capital more efficiently and indirectly through the fact that subsequent occupations have longer expected durations and hence greater returns to investment in specific human capital. The predictions of the model are tested using the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth together with 1970, 1980, and 1990 Census data. Empirical results are consistent with the theory. Wages grow faster following occupational changes. Both the direct and indirect effects are present. On the other hand, simple job changes have little effect on wage growth. Other competing hypotheses, including the accumulation of job specific human capital, the reallocation of labor from low wage growth industries to high wage growth industries, and stepping stone mobility, are all rejected by the data.
Bibliography Citation
Li, Wenqing. Mobility, Human Capital Accumulation, And Wage Growth. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Chicago, 1997.